Note: There is another RUFFORD in West Lancaster. Make sure that you are researching the correct place.


"This extra-parochial manor extends southward from the vicinity of Ollerton, along the banks of the Rainworth water, more than six miles to the junction of the Bassetlaw, Thurgarton and Broxtow hundreds. It contains 63 scattered dwellings, about 370 inhabitants, and 9,827 acres of good forest land, of which about 40 acres are appropriated to the cultivation of hops, 1,090 acres were planted with oaks and ash by the late Sir George Savile, who also enclosed and brought into cultivation 1,960 acres of the open forest, after the year 1776.
This fine rural liberty was anciently caled Rugforde or Rumford, and, before the Conquest, was held by Ulf the Saxon, but was afterwards of the fee of Gilbert de Gaunt, who was nephew to the Conqueror, and was succeeded by his son Walter, whose eldest son, Gilbert de Gaunt, married the Countess of Lincoln, and was himself created Earl of Lincoln, after which, in 1148, he founded here a Cistercian Abbey for a colony of monks, whom he brought from Rivaulx Abbey, in Yorkshire, in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary. He endowed it with the manor of Rufford and several estates. At the dissolution it was found to contain 15 of this holy brotherhood, whose revenues amounted to £254 per annum. Its site and possessions, with many other manors in Nottinghamshire, and the adjacent counties, were granted to George, Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford, in exchange for many large estates in Ireland, which he had given up to Henry VIII."
[WHITE's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853]


Archives & Libraries

The Library at Newark will prove useful in your research.



  • The parish was in the Kneesall sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 851
1861 R.G. 9 / 2473
1871 R.G. 10 / 3536
1891 R.G. 12 / 2709



Church History

  • A religious house for Cistercian monks was founded here by Gilbert de Gaunt, Earl of Lincoln, in 1148.
  • The abbey was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
  • Anglican services were held here in a private chapel of the abbey.
  • Peter KOCHUT has a photograph of Rufford Abbey on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2004.
  • Chris MORGAN has a photograph of the Remains of Rufford Abbey on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2015.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Kneesall sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.

Description & Travel

Rufford is both a village and a parish sitting about 140 miles north of London, 9 miles north of Mansfield and 2 miles south of Ollerton on the banks of the Rainworth water and the eastern edge of the old Sherwood Forest. The parish covers 9,738 acres.

If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A614 trunk road south out of Ollerton for 2 miles.
  • Trevor RICKARD has a photograph of the Dragon Gateway to Rufford Park on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2014. Clearly something for the young folk to enjoy.
You can see pictures of Rufford which are provided by:






Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Rufford has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • This place was a Roman settlement.
  • The "Rufford Hounds" were kenneled her in the late 1800s.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the Nemi Fountain, Rufford Abbey on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2014.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the fountain at the orangery on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2019.
  • David HITCHBORNE has a photograph of Rufford Abbey on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2003.
  • There is a Cedar of Lebanon on the grounds of Rufford Abbey, supposed to have been planted by King Charles II in memory of King Charles I. Its top was deliberately chopped to commemorate the fate of the earlier king. Andrew HILL has a photograph of this Cedar of Lebanon on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2013.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK645646 (Lat/Lon: 53.174609, -1.036471), Rufford which are provided by:


Military History

  • In 1881, Captain Henry D. Lumley SAVILLE of the 2nd Life Guards resided here.
  • The War Memorial is located in the Saville Room Restaurant in the Old Kitchen at Rufford Abbey. It is a World War One Roll of Honour.

Military Records

These are the men from the parish who fell in World War One:

  1. pte. John George DAVIS, 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters
  2. lance corp. Frank HUDSON, 12th Bn Sherwood Foresters
  3. pte. Sydney THOMAS, unk.
  4. pte. Henry WOODCOCK, 8th Bn Leics. Regt.

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient extra-parochial area in the county and became a modern Civil Parish in December, 1858.
  • The parish was in the Hatfield division of the ancient Bassetlaw Wapentake (Hundred) in the northern division of the county.
  • You may contact the local parish council regarding civic or political matters, but they are NOT funded to help you with family history searches.
  • District governance is provided by the Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Retford petty session hearings.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms, this parish became part of the Southwell Poor Law Union.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 265
1841 363
1851 370
1871 345
1881 333
1891 350
1901 343
1911 312
1921 342


John SLATER has a photograph of the Old School House on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2018.